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Assata: An Autobiography Paperback – November 1, 2001

184 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This black activist's memoir is like a freeze frame of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Though the polemical rhetoric is dated, the book is an otherwise compelling tale of the impact of white racism on a sensitive and powerful young black woman. Born Joanne Chesimard, she took an African name to confirm her commitment to black liberation, joined militant organizations, and was ultimately convicted of the murder of a New Jersey highway patrol officer in 1977. Her descriptions of life in prison and the vagaries of the court system are especially wrenching. Living now in Cuba as an escaped felon, she continues her utopian plea for revolution. Recommended for large libraries and specialists. Anthony O. Edmonds, Ball State Univ., Muncie, Ind.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"A deftly written book . . . A spellbinding tale."  —The New York Times Book Review

"A sober, restrained, but forceful recollection. . . . A must book for those interested in the 'revolutionaries' of the 1960s" —Choice


"A compelling tale of the impact of white racism on a sensitive and powerful young black woman." —Library Journal

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Lawrence Hill Books (November 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556520743
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556520747
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (184 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,791 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 45 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 30, 1998
Format: Paperback
Assata, is an autobiography that travels at a fast pace and it's hard to put down because you will truly anticipate the conclusion.
The book Assata gives great insight into the role that women played in the Black Panther Party and contrary to popular belief the women did not take the back seat.
The book is a journey through Assata's life. As a child she lived with her mother in New York and came down South (Wilmington, North Carolina to be exact) to visit her grandparents in the summer.
In Wilmington--home of the "Wilmington 10" and an 1898 coup d'etat(if you don't know about these events please ask somebody)--she got a first hand view of segregation. It is my opinion that her experiences as a child down South made her aware of the struggle of Black people.
She went through various rebellious phases as a young adult and eventually found her way to the Black Panther Party. From this point forward you begin to see through the eyes of a comrade in th! is movement.
The book deals with her expereinces with COINTELPRO (the U.S. counterintelligence program created to destablize certain civil rights organizations, particularly the BPP) to an incident on a New Jersey turnpike that leaves two highway patrolmen dead.
Although she was sentenced to life in prison, she now resides in Cuba. To find out how she wound up there, I guess you will have to read the book.
Among other reasons, this book continues to be timely and relevant because Assata continues to be a war cry for supporters of tightened sanctions against "Castro's Cuba".
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Marc Lamont Hill on August 25, 2001
Format: Paperback
The autobiography of Assata Shakur ranks among the top of the list of books that citizens of the United States should read. This book shows the development of a young girl victimized by racism and sexism in the Jim Crow South and the "liberal" north into a warrior and freedom fighter. This book provides the reader with a living, breathing example of what happened to the victims of COINTELPRO. The story of her life, struggle, sacrifices, and victory should be as important as The Autobiography of Malcolm X in terms of its affect on future generations. This is a must read for ANYONE interested in understanding the Black Panthers, COINTELPRO, or the dual oppression of being a woman of African descent in the United States.
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Tierra Mauhammad on September 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
The book is truly amazing. After reading it you should feel very enlightened (if not already) about the truths of the United States. Assata Shakur went through alot of things as to so many other black leader just for us. I'm a young black girl and I love Assata honestly with my whole heart. The book is tuly excellent I never wanted to put it down. I encourage everyone of every race to read it and to be open minded to the fact that its real. Just read it in the fact that if you have ever been in pain, Assata understands.
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32 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Adia L Sanders on March 29, 2001
Format: Paperback
I felt compelled to write this letter, because this book is how black people in amerika really struggled back in the the late 60's early 70's. As a black young female, I feel our youth today has no idea half of the drama that our ancestors went through. We need to take the time with our children and read the stories of yester year. It may seem harsh at first, but then when they realize the struggles from the past they will appreciate where they are now. I am so glad I read this book. If it wasn't for the brother Common, showing me the light, I don't think I would have ever heard of Assata Shakur. That's what we need, more youth sharing our history; good and bad. We need to look at our for ourselves. Don't be like me at 24 and just now starting to get into my true roots. But better late than never. Peace and blessing.#
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Ebony Stroman-Clarke on October 17, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book really touched me. Assata takes you through life as she experienced it. She's shows us how the "American-Dream" can really be the "American-Nightmare!" I admire the strength in this woman. I feel her pain and understand her struggle. This book is a must read. I read this book when I was 21. I am now 23. Since then I've had my 14 year old sister read it as well as my 17 year old sister. Assata, has inspired me in more ways than she will ever know. I am a published author with my own publishing company, but I truly believe Assata helped inspire me to fight for what I believe in. This is a book the whole world should read! Not only should it be read; it should be studied and understood! Assata is a great, strong, inspiring woman. I can only hope I'm lucky enough to meet her one day... God willing, I will!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Bakari Chavanu on October 16, 2001
Format: Paperback
Not nearly enough attention is being given to Assata's autobiography. Like the "Autobiography of Malcolm X", this is a powerfully written book about how an African activist person develops a cultural identity, whereby she pulls off the shackles of internalized racist views she is taught to have of herself and others to become someone who understands her cultural identity and it what it means to love one's self and her people.
This book should be taught to all African students in this country. It not only addresses important themes/issues about White supremacy and police brutality, but also more importantly how culture is a weapon against injustice.
We're lucky that Assata was able to escape the prison of America, for now we have her narrative as a source of inspiration and insight into what it means to develop a sense of self and to side with justice rather injustice.
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